Happy Birthday to Me!

What seemed like it would be a rather ordinary-though-by-no-means-unpleasant anniversary of my 39th birthday has turned out quite swell. I received the best birthday card ever from my sister and sister-in-law, along with their menagerie. I got lots of calls, emails and Facebook posts feting my increasingly rapid journey into senescence. Friends at work took me to Yank Sing for lunch. There were cupcakes on my desk when I returned from lunch. And I’m being treated to after-work cocktails in an hour. Hooray for me!

The card's size is matched to my ego!
Bark! Meow! Cluck! Quack!
Even my cat threw me a party!

Another reason to hate AT&T

TV commercials in general are insipid and annoying. But this one really makes my blood boil every time I see it.

Yes, I think we can all agree that life is filled with random chance and unpredictability – but to then turn around and say that something happening two seconds earlier is BY DEFINITION superior to something happening two seconds later belies this premise!  Suppose those ballet scouts (who, as we all know, are constantly roaming the streets looking for the next Maria Tallchief…) had been walking just a bit slower – the aspiring ballerina with the AT&T phone would’ve already crossed the street while the Brand X ballerina would’ve been discovered.

Or suppose that couple had been machete-wielding maniacs rather than balletomanes? Not only would she not be dancing Swan Lake, she’d be dead, cut down in her prime – and AT&T would be to blame!

Or what if she’d continued to wait tables and someone tipped her with a lottery ticket that turned out to be worth $46 million – then she could’ve become a famous ballerina on her own terms, without those two task-masters who discovered her on the street bleeding her dry, emotionally and financially, constantly criticizing her dancing and her weight until she developed both a dangerously unhealthy eating disorder and a raging cocaine habit, eventually ending her career before she’d even reached the age of 30, after which she spiraled further out of control until, at age 33, she was found dead of a heroin overdose in a shooting gallery in the South Bronx?

Or suppose after she was discovered and became a world-famous ballerina, with a long and successful career in which she became the most acclaimed dancer of the 21st century, she found herself approaching her 100th birthday, frail and alone in her beautiful townhouse on Fifth Avenue, just down the street from the Metropolitan Museum, surrounded by all of the trappings of wealth, the walls covered with Matisses and Van Goghs, sparkling chandeliers hanging overhead, freshly-cut out-of-season flowers artfully arranged in Baccarat vases in every room, but feeling nothing inside, just a black hole of despair and regret as she remembered her one true love, Dylan, with his crooked smile and his cowlick and his half-written novel, who’d waited tables with her back before she was discovered but whom she’d abandoned to pursue her dream-turned-nightmare of becoming the most celebrated ballerina in history?

So I guess what this commercial is really saying is don’t use AT&T. You will either die young or lead a life without even the merest sliver of happiness and completely devoid of humanity.

Do NOT Piss Off Tim Gunn

Kindly fashion mentor, deservedly-respectable old queen and Tide spokesman Tim Gunn lost his shit last night – and not without reason. Instead of his usual “Make it work” and “I’m worried about this neckline,” he brought the hammer down hard on last night’s losing team – especially on the putative and horrible (and obv self-annointed) leader of said team.

When I saw the Project Runway recap on Gawker, my favorite comment was this:

(The) collection made me think of Sears trying to do “luxury” clothing.

Best. Scare-quotes. Ever.

Oh, and fair warning: if you haven’t watched this week’s episode, this clip is a total spoiler…

Yes, this is real…

If that were me in the kayak, I would totally soil myself. Even looking at this photo may require a change of underpants…  Read the story of how Thomas Peschak took  this photo.


I honestly can’t believe I only just recently jumped on the Family Guy bandwagon. It is consistently hilarious. I’m watching all the reruns I can on TBS and Cartoon Network.

The gags on the show often go on much longer than one would anticipate – which is both hysterical and a real tribute to the dedication of the writers and directors to their craft.  The cultural references, which are rampant and often rather obscure, are consistently genius.

Peter’s showboating when he joins the New England Patriots is a perfect example. How easy it would’ve been to just use a brief chorus of Shipoopi rather than do an entire musical production… But the resulting two-and-a-half-minute scene is both really funny and true (even reverent) to the source.

I’ve never seen The Music Man, so I didn’t even understand where Shipoopi came from – and now that I do, I love the scene even more.

The Music Man

Family Guy

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cupcake War is Hell

Annoying judges and host.

I can’t believe I just sat through an hour of Cupcake Wars on FoodTV.  What a terrible show.

I actually quite enjoy a good cupcake – though there are way more bad ones out there than good ones. Take for example, the bubblegum cupcake offered locally by American Cupcake. Granted, I haven’t tried it – but I don’t have to…  The very concept is vomitous.  And don’t get me started on Citizen Cake… If you want an excellent cupcake, head to Miette. They are tender, delicious, never too sweet, an excellent frosting-to-cake ratio and just the right size. But I digress…

So, this terrible show’s premise is that four teams of annoying people make cupcakes for three equally annoying judges, all of it hosted by some other annoying individual. Tonight’s “theme” was “sexy” cupcakes using “aphrodisiacs” (e.g. chocolate, champagne, spices – yawn…) for ingredients.

The potentially interesting part of the show, i.e. the actual preparation of the cupcakes, is simply ignored, in typical FoodTV fashion. The “entertainment” part of the show is the running around in the kitchens while the clock ticks down in each timed round.

One of today’s contestants was a not-overly-sanctimonious (though obviously still annoying) vegan chef. I was actually curious as to how she prepared her winning cupcakes without the use of butter, cream or eggs – but no mention of that. Just frenzied rushing back and forth from mixer to oven.

In the final round, the two remaining teams had to prepare 1000 cupcakes and create a “sexy” cupcake display to be set up in a “sexy” nightclub, filled with “sexy” Hollywood industry types (i.e. car parkers and shop girls).

Chef Vegan had a Plexiglas tower of shelves, with fake flames in the center, the cupcakes served in cheap-ass plastic champagne and martini glasses – the whole monstrosity was flanked by two hideous wooden silhouettes of “sexy” singles. It was awful.

But even worse was her competitor! She used a bed as the platform for her cupcakes. Yes, an actual bed, made up with all of that foul burgundy-and-goldenrod betasseled and brocaded faux-luxurious bedding so popular at Ross and TJ Maxx…  And then covered the bed with cupcakes. Seriously, cupcakes sitting directly on the bedding!

You should’ve heard me screaming at the TV. “So what three flavors of cupcakes are you serving? Pubic hair, dandruff and body lice? And if you’re going to use a bed, why not be really authentic and put a cat licking its ass in the middle of the bed amidst all the cupcakes? Maybe shine an ultra-violet light on the cupcakes to reveal any extra ‘ingredients’? And shouldn’t they be ‘cream-filled,’ if you know what I mean..? Also, I am going to vomit.” I don’t care if that bed had just rolled off the assembly line – the very idea of eating cupcakes served on a bed in a nightclub is gag-inducing.

So, to sum up, I did not care for this TV program.

The Santa Fe Surprise

Arrived in Santa Fe last Thursday evening, showing up unannounced at La Boca where my mom, sisters and sister-in-law were having dinner.  Mom was in on the subterfuge, but my arrival elicited shock and awe from the rest of the family. The reaction reminded me of this long-ago item from Spy Magazine:

Shrieks of welcome could be heard blocks away as everyone’s favourite Ewok-ish willowy blond singer–actress–vixen–shut-in–survivor, Joey Heatherton, finally emerged from seclusion.

Granted, I’m not especially willowy any longer, though I think my facial hair does lend me an Ewok-ish air. And my vixenish nature is indisputable…

Whatever the case, the surprise was complete and the shrieks were genuine – the other patrons in the restaurant were craning there necks to get a glimpse of the commotion surrounding my arrival, apparently thinking I actually was Joey Heatherton… The meal was marvelous (particularly the special suckling pig and the carrot-garbonzo hummus).  And I had a lovely visit to the farm, finally meeting for the first time my many canine, feline, avian, leporine and apian nieces and nephews.

Of course, turn-about is fair play. At Gabriel’s for dinner the following night, the wait-staff was advised on the QT that it was my birthday (despite it not being for another few weeks). After dinner, a gaggle of waiters sneaked up behind me, plopped a giant sombrero (which weighed as much a cinder block) on my head and serenaded me en Español while literally (by which I mean literally) cramming flan into my mouth.

Saturday night was spent at the Santa Fe Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly – an excellent performance in a stunningly beautiful setting.

We also spent time lolling about the pool at Mom and Krissy’s hotel; snatching up bargains at TJ Maxx and Ross; shuffling around the plaza in downtown Santa Fe; wine-tasting; and enjoying a couple of excellent home-cooked meals at the ranch (including the tastiest pickled beets and green beans ever).

By every measure, the visit was a rousing success and a fine time was had by all.

Oh, it’s you again…

This is what I come home to every night.  And it makes me grin from ear to ear…

"I'm exhausted... I've been hard at the cushions all day long..."
"I find you tiresome."

I was asking for it…

Was traveling by taxi last night and snapped the following photo, which I then posted to Facebook – along with the caption, “I do all my shopping here…” My sister commented in response: “Did the Old Queen Market go out of business?”

South Pacific

I honestly can’t believe I saw “South Pacific” performed live at the Vivian Beaumont Theater last summer. I said at the time it was the most perfect night of theater I’d ever seen – and seeing it on Live from Lincoln Center on PBS just confirmed that view all over again. Life isn’t always easy, but this is something I’ll always have tucked away, reminding me that I’m gosh-darned lucky… Now, if only Paulo Szot would just call and ask me out…

A look at changing opinions about same-sex marriage

Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight does some quite interesting analysis of polling data – often times reaching conclusions that prove much more accurate than some of the more mainstream data on electoral politics.

Here’s his overview on public opinion polls regarding same-sex marriage over the years.

I found this chart to offer a really penetrating insight to the changing views on gay marriage in this country – though I might’ve liked to see the results go a little deeper. The pole poll numbers show a swelling in the number of Americans who favor same-sex marriage – while opposition continues to soften. It’s also interesting to note the temporary bulge in the numbers in 2004, when SF Mayor Gavin Newsom first started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The mayor’s decision likely erected some temporary barriers to same-sex marriage, as people felt he was trying to ram the issue through.

I just hope that the numbers continue to head in this direction, with opposition becoming more flaccid.  I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the ultimate climax, when the right to marry is granted to  gays and lesbians in all fifty states.

I suppose this is my own version of Proust’s madeleine…

I was waxing rhapsodic last week about the really great movie-of-the-week intros of bygone days of yore…  But if you’re anywhere in my age bracket (i.e. old), I suspect this will transport you back to your childhood, specifically Christmas time.  This six-second promo preceded the annual airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and (starting in ’72 when it moved from NBC) “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  I still recall the joyful anticipation that this little intro imbued in me every single year…

Store of Mystery

“Hi. I’m looking for those fancy toothpicks with the colored cellophane frills on top?  I also need some disposable baby bottles and an Ace Bandage.”

“Right this way, sir…”

Hide and Seek

My cat loves to hide – this is not an unusual attribute for a cat.  What amazes me however is that after living with me in my one-bedroom apartment for six years, he still manages to outwit me every now and again – invariably in the midst of doing my chores, so I start to think he’s either dashed out the front door while I’m taking my laundry downstairs; or that he’s managed to wedge himself into some previously-unknown crevice in one of my (many, many) closets. And then the search begins.

One of his favorite spots, particularly if I have visitors (he’s a little shy at first) is under the covers on my bed.  This isn’t much of a hiding place, since his 16-pound self creates a not-insubstantial mound in the middle of the bed.  Frankly, it’s my favorite of his many lairs – he feels like he’s pulled one over on me, but I can see exactly where he is…

Today, though, he upped the ante, as you’ll see…  Cat: 1; Eric: 0.

Hmmm... Clearly no cat hiding under the covers. Or is there?
He is a clever rascal.

UPDATE: Apparently, he realized I was wise to this new hideout.  Seriously, he’s not even trying anymore…

Yes, I know you can see me...
If I can't hide, I'm just gonna be adorable...

“Not much. How you been? High five!”

Jackass has always been something of a guilty pleasure.  It’s gross, puerile, stupid – but, more often than not, it is hilariously funny.  Whatever your feelings may be about the Jackass movies, please be sure to watch this clip of their latest endeavor, “Jackass 3D” to the very end. One of the best on-screen moments ever.  I’m still laughing…

Selma Blair Tells It Like It Is

I confess, I barely know who Selma Blair is…  I get all those youngish brunette ingenues mixed up.  But I have to give her props for  her spot-on observations during her stint as a judge on the season premiere of Project Runway:

It looks kind of small town hick outfit night at the bar.

You’d find that in a weird kind of store in the mall with a name like Dazzles… where they sell, like, wigs and dresses.

I loved how fascinating it was, and I also loathed it.

Speaking of Project Runway, if you look up “douche bag” in the dictionary, you’ll find Jason’s picture. Will someone please just smack that stupid bowler right off his head?

And I kinda have a crush on lonely little nerdy Mondo…  Call me, Mondo! I’ll be your friend…

One last thing: I think there ought to be a rule that if contestants can’t pronounce Marie-Claire correctly, they should be disqualified. If Miss Klum can do it, so can they…

Hooray for gays!

Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional on both Equal Protection and Due Process grounds. Also on grounds of being insufficiently fabulous…

And this is how I feel today:

Also like this:

It’s like the 21st century version of Marbury v. Madison

Apparently, the FBI was displeased with Wikipedia’s decision to display the bureau’s seal on a Web page describing the agency.  And, in an excellent use of both time and resources, the DOJ sent a threatening letter regarding Wikipedia’s employment of said seal, quoting a law designed to proscribe the use of counterfeit credentials of government agencies.

Wikipedia replied thusly:

While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version.

Oh snap.

Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Freedom Foundation had this to say:

Really, I have to believe the F.B.I. has better things to do than this.

Oh, no she di’n’t!  It is on like Donkey Kong…  Though I suppose by posting this on my blog, I’ve just been added to the “no-fly” list.

F.B.I., Challenging Use of Seal, Gets Back a Primer on the Law

Yes, this should do the trick…

My life is feeling a bit dull and ordinary these days.  So, I’ve decided to use the music from the trailer for “Inception” as my new theme song.  From now on, when I get to the office, arrive at my local boîte, board Muni, stand in line at the market or perform any of the other quotidian tasks that make up my day, I’m going to play this song – on my headphones if I have to, though I think it would be far more effective if someone (other than me, obv) could set up an amp and some speakers cranked up to 11 at wherever I happen to be and just start playing the shit out of this when I show up…  Everything I do will be both dramatic and epic!

And it seems to be working…  Listened to this on my walk to work today – my new theme was especially effective since all the tall buildings were shrouded in fog, lending a sense of foreboding to my morning commute.  I did also feel like pretty much everyone I passed by was in some way conspiring against me.  Granted, this is not all that unusual a feeling for me, though it was certainly heightened today.  However, I kept expecting something to explode without warning or for a Cloverfield-style monster to launch an attack…  Perhaps this is more drama than I’d bargained for.